Nimby Assessment

Building and Infrastructure Improvements Case Study

Project Background

High Mount Programs, Inc. is a community based non-profit organization that specializes in providing residential, vocational, and treatment services to adults with substance abuse disorders, many who have histories of incarceration. Founded 30 years ago by a priest and a group of volunteers, it is a sectarian organization that receives funding from a variety of Federal, state, and local government agencies. High Mount Programs now operates as multiple subsidiaries in several small cities and rural communities throughout the state.

One of the founding board members (a university professor without children) recently died and left his home to the agency, stipulating that the house must be used for sober housing for homeless men with histories of substance abuse disorders, many of whom are trying to rebuild their lives after a period of incarceration. The house is located on 20 acres of farmland in a small town outside of a capital city, and includes a barn and stables.

Project Challenge

This program will provide permanent affordable housing and paid training and employment in organic vegetable and poultry farming. The plan also includes developing a small business to sell organic produce and eggs to the local community, as well as through wholesale distributors. While there are a variety of affordable housing and vocational training programs available in the region, there is no similar program that offers both supportive housing and employment within a living and working environment that supports recovery.

Often, people who are opposed to the development of housing for people who are homeless pressure officials to deny necessary approvals for building improvements, construction, or infrastructure. Some policies that could be used to impede the development of supportive housing are unique to rural areas. The codes or regulations that are enforced are generally "face neutral" (not discriminatory in their design or intent) but may be applied more vigorously or rigidly towards these types of projects.

Items to Consider

In order to assess the conditions facing High Mount Programs, and to properly guide its decisions about how to proceed, it is essential to consider the following factors:

Click on each of the factors above to learn more.

To select the course of action commensurate with your organization's tolerance level for risk, click on the link below: